Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Health Programs in the Children’s Department

Does your library put health and wellness as a priority in public programming? With the evolving role of libraries in our communities, the aspect of connecting patrons to quality health information as a goal to help them lead healthier lives is becoming more prominent in the public libraries. Frequently, conversations of health programming is confined within adult services departments or those specifically serving seniors; however, health programs are just as important in the children’s department. I recently began a job at the National Network of Libraries of Medicine where I work with public libraries on building capacity of providing health programs, information, and services around the All of Us Research Program including topics of genetics, environment, and lifestyle. In this role I’ve become more aware of the health-focused programs and services already in place and the vast possibilities of providing these topics in a public library setting. It is important…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Poetry and more

This year marks the 29th year of my library system’s annual poetry contest for kids. I love that this writing tradition has continued for so long and that kids and teachers still enjoy it. Below are a few other writing program ideas I’ve seen or read about going on in libraries.  I’ve added some book suggestions from the experts when applicable. I think the library is a great place for kids to experience writing for fun and hope one of these suggestions gets you excited to try something new. Start a writing club for kids. Use Writing Radar: Using Your Journal to Snoop Out and Craft Great Stories by Jack Gantos as a group read and journal starter. It is pure fun. If you are part of the CSLP, which has the Libraries Rock theme, coloring journals in the catalog are only $1.25 – a cost effective way to promote…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

A Manager’s Role in Staff Self-Care

Compassion fatigue  has been a term that has been mentioned a lot recently. Compassion fatigue is “the emotional residue or strain of exposure to working with those suffering from the consequences of traumatic events”(1). Put more simply, it can be emotionally and mentally draining to perform work, like librarianship, that requires the constant care of others in difficult situations. While helping people is a major motivating factor that I hear from library staff about why they got into the profession and why they love it so much (including myself) the experience of compassion fatigue can quickly lead to personal burnout and health problems. A good way to combat this is to engage in self-care techniques and by practicing a healthy work-life balance. However, being able to strike that emotional balance of being immersed and devoted to our work and taking time to relax and center ourselves can be tricky. In…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Treat Yo Self

November and December can get stressful with holidays, staff vacations, winter weather, annual wrap-ups, and the end of the year ahead. While many of us have a tendency to simply push through, taking time to introspect on ways you can relieve stress and be a happier, more positive coworker and public service provider is an important part of serving your staff and community. Listen to Parks and Rec staff Tom Haverford and Donna Meagle, and treat yo self. We’ve all heard tips related to self-care: don’t check work email at home, take your lunch breaks, get up and move around every hour. These are all important (and you should follow them!) but there are lots of other, more in-depth resources to help you manage stress and be your best self. Take a look at a couple here: Self-Care Starter Kit from the School of Social Work at the University of…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Fostering Strong Communication

As a department manager in a busy Children’s Library, I think a lot about fostering strong communication between members of my team. Working in a group of six librarians who are rarely in the same place and are usually busy helping patrons, running programs, or preparing their next storytime means that we need to be intentional about the ways we share information to keep everyone informed and not he same page. Offering a variety of methods for team members to have input into decision making, share information, and have their voices heard has helped us build a stronger department. Communication Styles Different librarians in our department have very different communication styles, and getting to know everyone’s needs and preferences was the first step in improving our department’s communication. Do your co-workers prefer to get information in person or in writing, or both? Do they respond to emotional appeals, or is…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Summer Reading for Managers

Many of us working with kids and teens spend our reading time catching up on the books we’re excited to recommend to our readers. We encourage our patrons to continue reading and learning all through the summer so they can start the school year ready to grow. What if we did the same for ourselves? What if we carved out a little time over the summer (and all year round!) to educate ourselves on improving management skills? Here are a couple titles to start your reading journey. Please leave your suggestions for great management reading in the comments!   Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg               Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard by Chip Heath and Dan Heath                 Lean In: Women, Work, and the…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Surviving Flu Season as a Supervisor

stuffed animal teddy bear

You’ve finally figured out your schedule to accommodate for that extra class visit, the all-staff meeting, and the webinar two of your staff members want to participate in only to receive the following message from your colleague: “I’m sick and won’t be coming in today.” Ahhhh!! Cue panic and begin freakout! Or don’t. Having staff members call in sick is inevitable and even more likely during these winter months. Here are few ways you can be prepared to confidently handle even the most dire staff shortages. Program Plans: There should be one central location that everyone stores both the plans for their programs AND the materials, so in a pinch someone can grab the outline and supplies quickly. Also, it is great to have some ‘backup’ programs that everyone on staff could easily implement without needing much notice. Maybe it is a guest speaker who called in sick and nobody…

Blogger Managing Children's Services Committee

Why Children’s Librarians Should Run the World (or at least the library)

I’ve been thinking about leadership a lot lately as the Managing Children’s Services Committee has played a role in the ALSC Mentoring Program.  I’m always blown away by the quality of people we have working in the children’s department, and equally surprised that we don’t have even more children’s librarians who are moving up into management positions.